Convergent Thinking

Convergent thinking refers to the ability to narrow the number of possible solutions to a problem by applying logic and knowledge.

The term convergent thinking was coined by J. P. Guilford (1897–1987), a psychologist well-known for his research on creativity. Guilford posited that a prime component of creativity is divergent thinking, the capacity to arrive at unique and original solutions; the creative mind considers problems in terms of multiple solutions rather than just one. Convergent thinking, which narrows all options to one solution, corresponds more closely to the types of tasks called for in school and on standardized multiple-choice tests. By contrast, creativity tests designed to assess divergent thinking often ask how many different answers or solutions test-takers can think of to a specific question or problem. Some researchers have claimed that creative achievement actually involves both divergent and convergent thinking—divergent thinking to generate new ideas and convergent thinking to reality-test them in order to determine if they will work.

See also Creativity ; Divergent thinking ; Learning .

Resources

BOOKS

Coulter, Jeff, and W. W. Sharrock. Brain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive Science: Critical Assessments of the Philosophy of Psychology. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2007.

Dror, Itiel E. Technology Enhanced Learning and Cognition. Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2011.

Edelman, Shimon. Computing the Mind: How the Mind Really Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Fogler, H. Scott, and Steven E. LeBlanc. Strategies for Creative Problem Solving. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008.

Haselgrove, Mark, and Lee Hogarth. Clinical Applications

ofLearning Theory. Hove, UK: Psychology Press, 2012. Klein, Stephen B. Learning: Principles and Applications.

Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2012.

Lehrer, Jonah. Imagine: How Creativity Works. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

Raedt, Luc de. Logical and Relational Learning. Berlin: Springer, 2008.

Siegel, Daniel J. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York: Bantam Books, 2010.

Thomas, Kerry, and Janet Chan. Handbook of Research on Creativity. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2013.

Zeki, Semir. Splendors and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity, and the Quest for Human Happiness. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.